Senior Pastor Joseph Maldonado was born and reared on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York, once known as the “drug capital of the world.”  He was infected with Polio, a deadly disease, at age two and spent the next ten years living in hospital children’s wards. That decade, Joey endured surgeries, strenuous physical therapy, painful recoveries and grueling hours in what the children called, “the monster machine”…  the Iron Lung.

His rebellion began almost immediately after his final discharge from the hospital. Now a young teenager, filled with the anger of being physically handicapped, lonely and empty. Joey’s hopelessness and desperate desire to fit into the outside world made him vulnerable to the lure of gang life.

At age fourteen, Joey became a junior member of a gang called “The Ballerino Dragons.” He was later associated with the Puerto Rican Socialist Party and a militant group, called “The Young Lords.”   This road eventually led him to become the president of a notorious street gang known as “The Kingsmen.”  The next seven years were spent in a life of crime, drugs, alcohol, violence and destruction. It was during his years with The Kingsmen that Joey experienced a life changing encounter with GOD. Not long after that encounter, Joey abandoned his old life and embraced a new life in Christ. 

  Joey’s testimony is an inspiring story of triumph and redemption in the face of insurmountable odds resulted in over thirty years of ministry. He overcame the constant beckoning of friends from his old gang and the taunting from a neighborhood where religion was not looked upon highly. It was in that very same neighborhood where he grew up, that Pastor Joe simultaneously worked as a NYC Department of Education School Safety Supervisor and pioneered and founded Morning Star Tabernacle.   During this time, Pastor Joe was offered a position as the Borough Commander of NYPD School Safety Division.  Pastor Joe declined the offer to follow his calling to full time ministry, but was available as a training consultant.

Since that time, he has served on the pastoral staff of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York, other churches in New York City, Florida and Pennsylvania. He has also served as a mentor and overseer to countless ministries in the Tri-State area of NYC and beyond.  Pastor Joe served in bringing the gospel to the streets, to the community and to the world with Missions trips to Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, England, Dominican Republic, Canada and throughout the United States.  Pastor Joe is a recording artist and author and has been invited to minister on the radio at WWDJ, WMCA and New York’s own, WBAI,  as well as, numerous television stations, including TBN here in the US and 400 Huntley Street in Canada. He has been involved in the Teen Challenge/World Challenge Crusade with Dave Wilkerson. And Pastor Joe has been invited to minister at Christ Church in Nashville Tennessee and has ministered with Nicky Cruz, Alvin Slaughter, Carman, Ernie Shavers, Michael English to name a few. He has made himself available to speak, teach and preach locally, nationally and internationally.

At present, Pastor Joe, along with his wife, MaryJane, has pioneered, again, in his old neighborhood. This church, Lower East Side FELLOWSHIP

Though Pastor Joe has an impressive history and ministry resume, he simply wishes to be known as a servant of God – one who is simply known as “the people’s Pastor.”